This morning we marked the beginning of Lent. Our foreheads were signed with ashes. We publically placed our Lenten sacrifices on our crosses committing ourselves to respond to the message “turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel.” I felt a profound sense of
love at our school Mass this morning. I believe that love was the presence of the Holy Spirit in each and every one of us. I felt so privileged to be the principal of ASCS. I felt so much joy to serve the children and to see them come forward to receive their ashes and to
receive the Body of Christ present in the Holy Communion. I sensed a desire in each one of us to turn to the Lord in a big way this Lent.
I have heard a few people express concerns, many more people express excitement and few more express gratitude that we are now expanding to a third campus. In addition to the school, we also will offer childcare at our West campus. The childcare center serves infants-three year olds. Last week, we also learned that Holy Rosary Preschool was closing. To help alleviate the disruption of care for the families currently being served, we decided to pick up where they are leaving off and to offer childcare/preschool services to 3 and 4 year olds at the North campus as well. This program will take effect on March 16. If you know of anyone looking for a preschool/childcare program, please direct them our way! Here are some of the questions I (or others) have received-along with answers:
1. Will we have to travel to our West Campus for sports practices? The West campus is in a different athletic league than the North and South Campus. We are going to enroll ASCS in both leagues for the 2015-16 school year. Our families will get to choose the league that is most convenient for them (R-pal or the county public school league). The girls’ basketball league is offered at different times (their girls’ league starts now) so that opens up two seasons for the girls rather than one! We hope our joining together builds an even stronger athletic program. I also hope that we are as inclusive to our friends/families to the West as others were to us when we first opened ASCS.
2. Do we have the option of choosing the West location for school? Yes! All families may choose from North, South or West locations.
3. Will Dr. Lichter be the principal of all three schools? Yes, I do plan on having a presence at all three schools. We have an amazing, talented, committed team of teachers and staff members (51 of us without the West location!) who help keep this school moving in a positive direction. Carol Lesnak, Director of Student Support Services, will continue to serve as “principal in my absence.” We are also appointing a second teacher to take on the role of Director of Student Support Services for the West Campus who will
serve as “principal in my absence.” We are committed to ensuring the same high quality and faith-filled learning environment at ASCS. I will have a presence in all three buildings each day (West campus is located on my drive in and out of town each day). Additionally, we are purchasing a new phone system that will allow us to connect our campuses and to make public announcements and to lead prayer simultaneously on all three campuses from one location.
4. Will we have to drop off our children at the West campus for all school events? The West Campus is small; however, the grounds are large and quite beautiful! The school building will not house us all-so no, I don’t foresee all of the children ever being there for a
school day. We may, perhaps have our “back to school picnic” there or perhaps individual class events.
5. Will we lose teachers to the West campus? As always we staff our teachers according to what is best for the children. We do take into consideration our teachers’ needs as well. Yes, I do anticipate a few small changes. Given that there is infant care at the West campus, perhaps teachers with small children will desire to be at the West location where access to childcare is provided. What a beautiful benefit we can offer a teacher or staff member –bring your baby/child to school with you!
6. Why did we “buy another school?” We didn’t buy anything. We are not putting out any extra funds. The West campus brings with it parishes that subside the school. It brings with it an income source in the daycare. We will lease the building in the same way we
lease Holy Rosary and St. Mary (currently we pay a little over $80,000 per year to each parish for janitorial services and utilities). While I am sure there are many other questions, I ask for your patience and for your optimism. We are now able to expand Catholic education to more children and families. What a beautiful testimony of the good things being done in our school community. Please join me in being hospitable to our new family members. For those of you who experienced firsthand the closing of a school, practice empathy as you know the kind of sadness that brings on a school and parish community.
Dr. Jackie Lichter